Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Graze Review - June 2015 + Promo Code!

Graze is a food subscription box you can set up for weekly, bi-weekly or monthly delivery. You can also select not only the quantity of the variety pack they offer which includes all their snacks (4 for $6 or 8 for $10 pack, respectively), but the box type. They have any and every type of box you could desire. Special diet? They have you covered. Not into sweets? Or ONLY into sweets? They've got you too. Their box types include:

  • Calorie Count Box, 8 for $10 - all snacks included come under 150 calories each, but you're still getting full flavor and satisfaction. Honestly a lot of my favorites are listed under this category. Like Pizza Margherita, Grilled Cheese, Caramel Apple and Lemon Almond Cookie Dippers with Blueberry Compote!
  • Sugar Count Box, 8 for $10 - all snacks included have under 5 grams of sugar, and all the sugar honestly in my experience is natural from fruit - not additional. You get Soups, Maple Pecan Granola Topper, Southern BBQ Pistachios and more. Don't confuse this box for low carb however, if you're diabetic. There's currently no box that caters 100% to diabetics, but this box if you're controlled can fit within your diet quite well. There's just a lot of savory snacks, but most whole grain at least! Try at your own discretion.
  • Protein Box, 8 for $10 - just as you'd think, loaded with protein for those needing more in their diet or bulking up. Lots of nuts including some of my favorites like Sour Cream & Onion Cashews, Brooklyn Bites and Super Kale & Edamame. 
  • Savory Box - for savory snack lovers, with snacks like Chili Lime Cashews, Soups, Popcorn, Grilled Cheese, Barbeque Sub and so many more!
  • Flapjack Box - for those who love their flapjacks, which are delicious little moist and dense bars filled with rolled oats and whole grains typically. A lot of them packed with protein and perfect for people with active lifestyles. Flavors can include Lemon Drizzle, Cocoa & Vanilla, Apple Cinnamon and Honeycomb with a chocolate drizzle.
  • Sweet Treat Box - just as it sounds, a box for those with a sweet tooth that won't stop. It includes delicious snacks like my all time favorite Iced Cinnamon Bun, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dippers with a Berry Compote, Honey Drizzled Cashews - and the list just goes on.
  • Sharing Box, $25 - all new, 5 bags (20 portions) monthly of a huge variety of your favorites. Closest thing you can get to purchasing bigger orders of their snacks, and I'll be getting one next month to review. So we can all see what that's like!

They also include a nifty section on their site under your personal options titled 'Food Preferences' that allows you to see things unsuitable for Vegans, Vegetarians, Celiacs/Gluten Free Diets, Dairy and Soya allergies, Fruit & Nut allergies, people with issues with Spicy food and ones that require special preparation like a Microwave. They allow you to view the snacks that fall under each category and 'trash' them so you'll never receive them. This is the one feature I love most about Graze - you get randomized snacks tailored to you. Don't like something? Trash it and you'll never see it again. Obsessed with something? Select 'love' and you'll receive it more often. You can do this with not only the snacks you receive but ALL snacks on their site. Onto my box, though.

Unopened box, topside.
First view of the inside.
Detailed view of snacks.

My box arrived on June 27th in perfect conditionI opt for the monthly variety pack right now. which includes 4 of any of their delicious snacks.

I was pleasantly surprised I FINALLY got one of their various soups they released a few months ago. I've been waiting for one for a while. I was checking every box (they have a feature on their site to see what your current box includes) for it and eventually gave up. So this was a nice surprise addition.

Bowl of sadness.
First snack I received, as you can see, is the Japanese Miso Soup with a side of Roasted Edamame Beans. See the link for ingredients. The soup comes in paste form, and asks you to combine the paste with 8oz of hot water. Inside the paste is a few sheets of Wakame seaweed, but I honestly expected when I heard 'soup' for perhaps the side to be something like rice noodles or at least a vegetable blend you could add into the soup. But I ignored it, and prepared the soup at the same time as my dearest friend who also received this in her box. You can check out her review here.

We nibbled on our Edamame and both came to the agreement that they were fantastic. I'd definitely purchase something like this frequently as a savory snack. They were rich, and had a nice nutty toastiness from being roasted. Deep crunch, lightly salted and just wonderful. But unfortunately - and you'll see why I say that soon - our soup was ready. 

This is where I'd put in a picture if I had one, but I don't, however you can see my friend's by going to her page once again located here. In short, though? It was horrible. Broth tasted like genuinely nothing but soy sauce, but super watered down soy sauce. I sipped it a few times to make sure it wasn't just my taste buds needing time to acclimate. It wasn't. It was still just salty and sad. But I still decided to try a little bite of the seaweed included. Worst mistake. Both of us instantly spat it out and felt deeply saddened by our experience. It was rubbery, flavorless and not at all pleasing in any way. I trashed it on their page, and I'm now skeptical of their other soups - but I WILL try them all. NO FEAR.

The most delicious thing on earth.
Next up is this bad boy, my ALL time favorite snack Graze offers - Iced Cinnamon Bun. Which includes Cinnamon & Honey Almonds, Yogurt Coated Sunflower Seeds and Vanilla Cookie Drops. See the link for nutritional information. 

There's literally nothing about this snack I can say negatively. The almonds are crusted with sweet and sticky honey and cinnamon; and they're perfectly roasted with a deep nutty flavor and the perfect crunch. The vanilla cookie drops offer a light sweetness, with a crispy element and the sunflower seeds taste honestly like icing. Entirely. They all go perfectly with one another or can be enjoyed on their own. My personal preference is eating the almonds first then the cookie drops and sunflower seeds together. Fantastic, and I wish so badly they'd make a big bag of these. Needless to say I rated these LOVE and requested they send them soon.

Please more cashews, never enough cashews <3
And here we have Zesty Chili Lime Cashews. Exactly as they're advertised - zesty lime and spice covered cashews. I don't know if I'd call these chili, they have some pretty crazy varied spices on them if you read the nutritional information listed above. But they do offer a light heat, so I'll allow the name I suppose :P

They're pretty basic, heavily spiced with tart lime flavor. Nicely roasted, not overpowering at all, perfect little snack for anyone who loves the savory and cashews like I do. I marked them as LOVE and requested they send them soon. I'll take any cashews, any time. Especially when they're this delicious. They're not quite my all time favorite Sour Cream & Onion, but they'll definitely do. 

Delicious little gummy treats.
And finally, we have Stars & Stripes. Which includes Mini Blackcurrant Stars, Raspberry Strings and Blueberry Flavored Cranberries. The first two are created using various purees and juices to form them together. See nutritional information for more.

They were all great together, and individually. I didn't quite care for the Blueberry Flavored Cranberries, however. They were a little too cloying, and sickeningly sweet for my tastes. Though I did truly appreciate previous 'infused' fruits they offered like cherry flavored cranberries, these just didn't work for me. But all together they were able to blend in well and I barely noticed the flavor. The raspberry strings were the real winners here though. While I was pleased with the blackcurrant stars and they offered tons of flavor and a light gummy texture, the raspberry strings were basically just raspberry fruit leather which happens to be my favorite kind. All in all I rated this Love, I wouldn't mind seeing it again. It's much better to me than a lot of their fruit combinations.

That's all I've got! If you're looking to try out Graze, you can get your first box free by entering the code AmberT9CP on the first page to get your 1st and 5th boxes free. You can of course just get your first box free and cancel any time if you dislike the service, but I'm positive you won't. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Love With Food Review - June 2015

I've been subscribed to Love With Food for over and year and I've never regretted it. I subscribed to them when my previous favorite food subscription service - Goodie Box - closed their services. They gave me a free month and I'm so glad I decided to try it out. It's a monthly subscription box full of various foods, all of which are pretty great for you and easy to find in stores locally. At least, for me they are. 

You'll find popular brands like popchips, Lindt, Annie's, Jer's, Lovely Candy Co. and so many more. But what I love most is that you find new brands you never thought of trying, or maybe were too scared to because of the price or the healthy labels. I know from experience a lot of labels that read Gluten Free, or Vegan can be a little scary because not too long ago it meant flavorless, boring. But they're exceptionally good at finding things that are healthy for you, with ingredient lists you can pronounce and understand that are also somehow delicious. Bonus? Every box you buy, one meal is given to a hungry child in need. So you give back without even thinking about it. There's nothing negative I would say about this service, ever.

Remember to review your products if you subscribe for points you can use to get discounts off your orders through them! Which you'll find yourself doing more often than you'd think, surprisingly. They constantly have discounted bulk orders of your favorite treats you've received, and they have every item up the send in case it's hard to find in your area. I personally have ordered from them multiple times, the most recent of which I bought something they sent me last year I absolute cannot live without now. Burrito & Taco Seasoning from Desert Gardens Chile & Spice Company. It's the best taco seasoning I've ever tried and an order of $10.98 got me 10 packets, when their retail price is $3.45 on the company's website. And I'm soon going to order something in this month's box. Read ahead for what that something is!

Now what's the price of such a fantastic box? NEW LOW PRICE of $9.99/mo. Before it was $12 due to shipping costs. It's a fantastic price, and you get 40% off using this link now!

Boxes were delayed this month so I got mine pretty late, on June 20th. Arrived in perfect condition though, awaiting my binging :P this month's box is entitled Saturday in the Park Sunshine!

My opinion? Fantastic box this month. With only ONE thing out of the entire box I didn't particularly like, but I appreciated it's concept. If you'd like to purchase this months box, it's available on Love With Food's website. See here for more details. 

Onto the items! My favorite thing of the month, that I'll be ordering ASAP is:

Emily's Northwest Trail Mix, $17.99 for 18 0.85 oz bags @ Love With Food
I fell absolutely in love with this trail mix. Whole roasted cashews & almonds for a nice salty, toasty and nutty kick paired with delicious diced cinnamon apples, raisins and cranberries. It's the perfect mix of salty and sweet, but everything was so fresh tasting. And I was really genuinely pleased with the cinnamon apple dices. Usually you find apples in trail mixes to be chewy and rubbery, and generally unpleasant. But the texture was superb in this and the flavor was fantastic. And their short, concise and healthy ingredients list made me smile and feel great about my snack choice. I'll definitely be buying this, and while the bags are small they're I feel the perfect snack portion. And coming in at $1 each through Love With Food, it's a decent deal. Their retail price is $21.25 for the same 18 on the company's website.

Bali's Best Classic Iced Tea Candy, $8.99 100ct @ Love With Food
Delightful little hard candies that taste exactly like fresh brewed black tea. Lightly sweet, not at all too powerful. They're perfect if you're a tea lover, and I'm buying some next month. I'm obsessed now. Best value I've found online is at Love With Food. 100 for $9? Yes please.

Popchips' Crazy Hot Chips, unavailable but may be in stores near you
These are currently unavailable for purchase online from what I can see and I didn't find any in stores near me. I'm just glad Love With Food subscribers were lucky enough to be able to test them. I say lucky because they were delicious. Super smoky, a great mouth burn for those who love spicy (heat) foods. They delivered the heat, also, without sacrificing flavor. Other 'hot' chips such as Hot Fries, or Flamin' Hot Cheetos, you often find just provide a lot of heat without any complexity. I love those too, but sometimes you want to taste the chile flavor, and get little hints of vinegar and spices - these chips really give you that. I would recommend to anyone. I'm not the biggest fan of popchips, they taste strange to be typically, but these are perfect.

Everything Savory Bar by Sheffa, $12.99 for 12 0.64oz bars @ Love With Food
Smells like beef Ramen, tastes like beef Ramen ground down and fused into a bar with some nuts added in, yet somehow is vegan and has no nuts at all? Call me confused but intrigued. The bar is Non GMO, Vegan, contains no nuts, soy or corn and is Gluten Free and Low Sodium. I have NO idea how they fit all this flavor into a bar with only 50mg of sodium and made it taste like beef Ramen. It's confusing, and strange, and delicious. It's Kosher and made in Israel, has 14% of your daily fiber and is loaded with healthy seeds including Poppy, Sunflower and Sesame. I loved it, and one day I may be tempted to buy them. That's if my significant other doesn't buy them first, because he's in love with them.

Sheila G's Chocolate Chip Brownie Brittle, $18.85 for 20 1oz bags @ Amazon
What can I say? Chocolatey, crispy, delicious melty chocolate chips in every bite. It's what you'd expect. Absolute delicious. I've bought them in store several times before, and I'll never stop. Not a surprise in my box, but they still made me really happy. And the 1oz bag is the perfect snack size, truly. I might actually just buy the bags I found on amazing since they're perfect servings and cheaper per ounce than in store!

Funny Face's Choo Choo Cherry Flavored Cranberries, $7.99 for 12 boxes @ Love With Food
Simple, but great. Very soft and supple, but with a nice bite - so way better than Craisins already. Nice and lightly sweetened with a great cherry flavor. Natural cherry flavor, too, none of that horrible sickeningly sweet maraschino flavor here. I'd definitely buy these in the future. Way better than any raisins/Craisins I've ever tried, hands down.

Rosemary Croccantini by La Panzanella, $9.99 for 12 packs @ Love With Food
I unfortunately can't try these because I'm allergic to Rosemary, but I'm told they're quite delicious and have tons of great aromatics. Heavily salted, and very dense, but would be great with hummus or other dips.

Kutoa Blueberry Almond Health Bar, $18.97 for 4 @ Amazon
Okay, let's start with the prices I've found online before we even get to the product. They're ridiculous, often the bars come out to be at least $3 each and that's heavily discounted. Now for taste - they're horrible. Some people will throw out the gluten free/vegan card when trashing this, but I won't. I've had SO many gluten free/vegan items that are fantastic. My significant other's mother makes the most delicious gluten free cookies. I know how wonderful it can be. And I've had vegan breakfast bars before that just burst with flavor, because of the fruits used and they used this simple syrup as a binder made from watermelon. So that's not why these are horrible. These are horrible because they're dry, yet sticky so I'm confused by the texture heavily, they're very raw tasting, and I'm barely getting any blueberry flavor honestly. 

Worst part is there's 17g of sugar in this one little bar, 2 types of sweeteners (Agave & Brown Rice Syrup). One of which, Brown Rice Syrup, is just as bad for you as sugar in the long run. It's empty calories, and is 100% Glucose and spikes your blood sugar. So for advertising themselves as 'healthy' they're kind've the opposite. I wouldn't care if they didn't slap all these labels claiming to be healthy on themselves. I still eat horrible for me chocolate bars, and the brownie brittle from earlier. But they don't falsely advertise. I would never repurchase or suggest anyone else try them. I appreciate what they're trying to do even if they're failing, and that they're non-GMO, but I'm good making my own. Thanks.

*UPDATE: My significant other had one in his box too, and his was actually moist and VERY packed with blueberry flavor. Still very raw tasting but at least I could finish it. He didn't want it but I had it and didn't hate it. I still wouldn't ever pay for it, or choose it over some of my other favorite bars, though. Just less terrible than I though. But honestly for their price they should NEVER be hit/miss. Still has the insane sugar content too.

Total value? Hard to say, honestly, but well over the $10 I paid for sure. Well worth your money.

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